Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I knitted hats for the Women's March. Since there was a deadline, I've abandoned my tablet case temporarily, and put aside the CSM for a while.  This was a really good exercise because it forced me to get familiar with the ribber on my Brother KH230.  It has plastic inserts for the ribber carriage called pushers.

 Without the pushers, the stitches do not form properly.  With the pushers, it works beautifully.  But you must remove the pushers to cast on, then re-install them to knit ribbing.












I did not hear about this hat project until I read about it in the Detroit News/Free Press the week before the march.  My hats are going to people who have pledged to wear them as a reminder of the march's goals.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Felted fairaisle tablet case (Part 1)

Since I got a new tablet for Christmas, I am making a tablet case from a felted fairaisle piece.  I think it will look artistic and cozy, and also protect the tablet.  Note that the tablet already has a glass screen protector and a plastic case, this is just extra insurance and hopefully a fashion statement.
 It is a true learning experience.  Let me share the journey with you!

Materials: 
Yarn: 
Yeoman Fifty-fifty (white) and mill end acrylic boucle.
Trim: 
leather scraps from an old sofa



Whoa! You say.  " Why is she trying to felt acrylic?"

ANSWER: I have experience with knitting a cardigan sweater with the 50-50 yarn that hubby threw into the dryer.  I knew it would felt.  I also have experience with yarns in fairaisle felting at different rates, leaving a touchable texture, and wanted to get this effect.  Plus, it was what I had available.

You say "I don't have a sofa to take apart" 

ANSWER: Be creative.  Go to a thrift shop and find an old purse to use.

Thread: Coats and Clark Heavy Duty
Stabilizer: tear-away scraps left over from machine embroidery project
Trim/ Hardware: Magnetic snaps, zipper, chain, D-rings, snaps

TOOLS:

Brother KH-930
Vintage White Sewing machine

PROCESS:
 
Step 1.  Decide how much fabric will be needed.  Sketch basic design, and measure tablet.  Figure on about 25% shrinkage.  I skipped the sketching because I had an idea in my head.  Relying on my memory did cause a problem later.

Step 2. KNIT the fairaisle piece. I used built in stitch pattern 10 from Stitch world, but after knitting a swatch, decided I wanted something bolder and knitted the fabric double- high and double-wide. Bind off.

Step 3. FELT the piece. I used standard laundry detergent in our front-loading washer and dryer.  I put it through three cycles before getting the density I wanted.  My original idea was to sew up the flat piece before felting, and insert a plastic block (made from cutting board) to keep the shape.  I had a suggestion from a fellow knitter just to make a flat piece and cut to size after felting, so this is the approach I chose. It seems to felt better if other laundry, like towels, are included in the load, to provide abrasion.

Step 4. Add the leather trim and sew the basic bag.  Since I've really never sewn leather on my machine before, I should have started with my swatch, but I forged ahead anyway. 
   a. I chose to use the vintage cast-iron machine because I didn't want to break any plastic gears in the newer machines.  They don't make them like they used to!
   b. I made sure to use a leather needle and heavy duty thread.
   c.  I used a long stitch length, the longest the sewing machine would support.
   d.  Trim the leather so the edges are straight.
   e. Sew the trim to bag. Sew with leather side up. Use tear- away stabilizer under the fabric to keep it from stretching.
f. Sew the side seam.  Oops, that was supposed to be a center back seam.  That is why I should have made a sketch first.  I can live with it.
g.  Turn inside out and test the fit. Oops again.  Guess I should have measured the leather. Can't live with this.  Good thing I have a whole sofa's worth of leather.  Actually now I am seeing this together, not sure if I like this leather with this fabric.  The leather has gold undertone and the boucle yarn has more of a silver undertone.

h. back to the drawing board.  

i. Right away I see design flaw.  If the flap is attached to the back, it will need to be cut out and attached separately.  Maybe best to make entire flap out of leather.
j. By fitting the plastic block to my bag, I realized I will need a lining.  The fairisle floats are not entirely fasted down, and are snagging on the corners of the block when I try to insert it.

I will come back later and report on the (hopeful) success or failure of this project.  

Meanwhile, I am working on getting familiar with my circular sock machine. I hade a wonderful lesson from a fellow CSM owner and am starting to be more confident. I am also feeling happy because I have been learning to darn socks.  I started a Pinterest board on mending, darning, and repairing things. More to come.